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20 April 2013

Germ Warfare

The danger posed by bacteria becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics has been brought to the attention of the G8 nations by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies. She warns that even routine operations could become risky within 20 years if the world fails to develop a new generation of antibiotics. One potential source is the human body, which makes natural germ-killing substances known as antimicrobial peptides. About 1,700 of these peptides have been detected including dermcidin, produced in sweat to disinfect cuts and grazes. Dermcidin kills bacteria by making holes in their surface – a strategy that is difficult for bugs to evolve defences against. Scientists recently studied how these holes are formed and the computer simulation pictured shows peptide molecules in orange and dark blue, forming a channel into the cell. This hole allows ions to flow uncontrollably across the cell membrane, with fatal results.

Written by Mick Warwicker

UC San Diego Professor Awarded Bloomberg Manulife Prize for Promotion of Active Health

ucsdhealthsciences:

A $50,000 research prize to promote active health has been awarded to James Sallis, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.  Sallis is a noted academic who is on a mission to use research to promote health, fitness, and active lifestyles.

The 2012 Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health – the world’s largest prize devoted to physical activity – is awarded annually by McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in association with Lawrence S. Bloomberg and Manulife Financial.  The prize is given to a researcher “whose work promises to broaden our understanding of how physical activity, nutrition or psychosocial factors influence personal health and well-being.”  Sallis will accept the award at special ceremonies in Toronto on January 21, 2013 and on January 23 on the McGill campus in Montreal.

Widely regarded as a leading expert in the field of policy and environmental influences on fitness, nutrition and obesity, Sallis has dedicated his career to health promotion through physical activity, and has been recognized with numerous honors and awards, including a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Vice Presidency of the American College of Sports Medicine, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.

He is an outspoken advocate of evidence-based interventions, and to that end has led many large-scale research projects, including the Neighborhood Quality of Life Study, a study of neighborhood walkability and physical activity, which is the model for studies conducted around the world. He is also co-founder of SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids), which resulted in the development and implementation of highly effective physical activity programs for youth across North America.

Sallis is also the director of the Active Living Research Program, which aims to build the evidence base about how environments and policies shape physical activity, and subsequently use the evidence to inform policy change.

UC San Diego Professor Awarded Bloomberg Manulife Prize for Promotion of Active Health

ucsdhealthsciences:

A $50,000 research prize to promote active health has been awarded to James Sallis, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.  Sallis is a noted academic who is on a mission to use research to promote health, fitness, and active lifestyles.

The 2012 Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health – the world’s largest prize devoted to physical activity – is awarded annually by McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in association with Lawrence S. Bloomberg and Manulife Financial.  The prize is given to a researcher “whose work promises to broaden our understanding of how physical activity, nutrition or psychosocial factors influence personal health and well-being.”  Sallis will accept the award at special ceremonies in Toronto on January 21, 2013 and on January 23 on the McGill campus in Montreal.

Widely regarded as a leading expert in the field of policy and environmental influences on fitness, nutrition and obesity, Sallis has dedicated his career to health promotion through physical activity, and has been recognized with numerous honors and awards, including a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Vice Presidency of the American College of Sports Medicine, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.

He is an outspoken advocate of evidence-based interventions, and to that end has led many large-scale research projects, including the Neighborhood Quality of Life Study, a study of neighborhood walkability and physical activity, which is the model for studies conducted around the world. He is also co-founder of SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids), which resulted in the development and implementation of highly effective physical activity programs for youth across North America.

Sallis is also the director of the Active Living Research Program, which aims to build the evidence base about how environments and policies shape physical activity, and subsequently use the evidence to inform policy change.

UC San Diego Health Sciences News: Prenatal Depression: coping with anxiety, hopelessness, and fear while pregnant

ucsdhealthsciences:

While the phenomenon of postpartum depression has received increased attention and research over the last decade, less is known about prenatal depression – the sense of hopelessness, fear and anxiety that can afflict women during their pregnancy.

The condition isn’t uncommon – it occurs in…

Clinical Trial Evaluates Synthetic Cannabinoid as Brain Cancer Treatment

ucsdhealthsciences:

Researchers at University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center are evaluating the safety and tolerability of a synthetic cannabinoid called dexanabinol (ETS2101). Delivered as a weekly intravenous infusion, the drug is being tested in patients with all forms of brain cancer, both primary and metastatic.

“In this Phase I study, we are examining the safety of multiple doses of dexanabinol, extent of penetration into the brain, and suitability for future trials,” said Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD, principal investigator, and director of neuro-oncology, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “What we hope to determine is the safe and optimal dose of drug in the brain.”

Dexanabinol is a cannabinoid derivative that causes no psychotropic effects. It was tested previously as a neuroprotective in patients with traumatic brain injury. During these trials the drug was found to cross the blood-brain barrier.  More recently, researchers at e-Therapeutics plc, who are supporting the current trial, showed that dexanabinol kills cultured cancer cells derived from many tumor types. Additional research in Kesari’s lab demonstrated the drug’s anti-cancer effects in patient-derived brain cancer cell lines.

Dexanabinol’s potential in fighting cancer was identified through a new approach to drug discovery called network pharmacology, a way to analyze the network of proteins underlying a disease process. Network pharmacology enables scientists to seek drugs from among existing compounds, or design new molecules, that act simultaneously on a number of individual proteins to disrupt the cancer-related networks.

Kesari added that this trial fits well with a broader national effort to re-purpose existing drugs for the treatment of cancer. He asked, “Why not use drugs that are currently available and learn how they can be applied in new effective ways for different indications?”

Dexanabinol is thought to act on proteins including NFĸB, TNFα, COX-2 HAT, FAT and cyclin-dependent kinases. The trial at UCSD Moores Cancer Center is one of two ongoing Phase I studies with dexanabinol, and the first to evaluate the drug in cancer patients.

“In time, we will explore the association between the molecular phenotype of the tumor and the patient’s response, which may allow us to personalize future therapies,” said Kesari, associate professor, Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Patients who are eligible for this trial must have failed prior therapy including surgical resection, radiation therapy and systemic therapy.

Questions about this clinical trial may be directed to 858-822-6346.

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